Mariette Oosterhoff, marketing and communications director for TWR’s Latin America and Caribbean Region, blogs this month from the TWR Europe and CAMENA National Partners Conference 2019, held in Central Europe.
This morning I witnessed a Bible verse at work. It’s this verse from the apostle Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
As the 2019 Europe and CAMENA partners conference moved toward a close, TWR’s representative for Russia prayed for TWR’s national partner in Ukraine. I could tell that he did this very seriously and with his whole heart. Considering that these two countries are embroiled in a damaging, long-running conflict, this was not an easy thing for him to do. At TWR, we can truly say, “We are all one in Christ!”
Touching People’s Hearts
During his devotional presentation, the Rev. David Castor of Norea Sweden described TWR Women of Hope’s outreach known as Hidden Treasures as one of his favorite TWR projects.
“Everywhere I go, I speak about this project,” he said. “It touches people’s hearts.”
Hidden Treasures is an audio drama aimed at bringing inner healing and freedom to sexually exploited and trafficked women. On MP3 players and SD cards, these stories are distributed among trafficked women in Europe.
Castor continued: “The name of the program refers to the parable Jesus told about a treasure that a man finds out in the field. He goes away and sells everything he owns. Then he buys the land, digs out the treasure and gives it its rightful place. The primary meaning of this parable is that God is out walking and stumbles on a treasure – buried in dirt where no one pays attention to it. But God pays the ultimate price to take that treasure out of the dirt. And he is putting it in the right place. A treasure that no one else has seen. He puts in in his kingdom.”
Saving a person from utter destruction – we at TWR strive to do this in many ways. Missions is about loving people and digging them out of the dirt.
Let’s Talk to Digital Natives
This afternoon I talked with three men who share a great and sincere love and concern for young people.
José Pablo Sánchez, director of TWR national partner Canal de Vida in Spain, said, “We have neglected this generation, the so-called millennials, for many years. It is time to do something special to reach them specifically. Millennials are the first digital natives.”
Mateus Rodrigues de Mendonça, who serves with Canal de Vida in Spain, explained, “Young people don’t know anything about Jesus, never read the Bible. They think Christians are fanatics who hate people that are different. Many of them deal with depression, loneliness, addiction and come from broken families. They lead empty lives.”
Sanchez added, “I do a lot of street evangelism; however, in the last five years, there has been no way to connect with the millennials on the street. They don’t participate in anything we organize. They live in a different world. We need to find a different way to connect with them. Millennials are our future leaders. We cannot lose this generation.”
Lucas da Silva, TWR’s director of Southern European Ministry, said, “We want to reach them in the places where they are, and that’s online. They look at YouTube, SoundCloud and listen to podcasts. We want to start programs in video, podcasts and other formats online. That allows them to start to think more positively about Christianity. Hopefully, they are curious about what else the Bible has to say and start to see it as a real source of wisdom. We want to show them that Christians can be cool and funny, not old-fashioned. … Christians can be real people with real issues and fresh perspectives on life.”
This was the last day of the conference. Tonight, I will go back to my Generation Z daughter and millennial kids. I am happy that I end the conference by thinking about the future – our youth!
Will you pray with me for this project to reach out to young people through digital media? Pray for wisdom to know how to present the topics in a way that is relevant.
Now, I’m already looking forward to hearing more about this digital ministry at the 2020 National Partners Conference!
Thank you for joining me in for this blog journey during the past five days.
Photo: From left, José Pablo Sánchez, Mateus Rodrigues de Mendonça and Lucas da Silva discuss the need for new outreach directed at digital natives.